Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month

As the sun smiles down on us this May, it's crucial to remember that its rays, while warming, are also harmful with prolonged exposure. Join us as we take a moment to explore the origin of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, explore skin cancer and UV exposure risks, and learn more about the harmful effects of sunscreen. We’ll also highlight some of the skin-protective benefits SlipIns products offer to water enthusiasts in SoCal and beyond.
The History of Skin Cancer Awareness Month
Skin Cancer Awareness Month was established by the American Academy of Dermatology to emphasize the importance of protection against the sun's harmful UV rays, early detection of skin cancer, and public education on the same. It's a time when dermatologists and health organizations work together to spread knowledge about the sun's dangers and the steps one can take to reduce the risk of skin cancer. This annual observance not only highlights preventive practices but also encourages people to get regular skin checks, promoting early detection strategies that can lead to successful treatment outcomes.
Understanding Skin Cancer and UV Exposure Risks
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with millions of cases diagnosed yearly. While many factors contribute to skin cancer risk, the primary villain is unmistakably the UV radiation from our sun. There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and the deadliest, melanoma. According to the Skin Center Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
It’s not just sun exposure during outdoor activities that puts your skin at risk. Indoor tanning can increase your vulnerability to melanoma. Per the Skin Cancer Foundation, studies have found that individuals have a 75% increased risk of developing life-threatening melanoma if they start using indoor tanning beds before age 35. A recent study published in the journal JAMA Dermatol found that of the 63 women who contracted melanoma before the age of 30, 61 women had a history of a tanning bed habit. 
Exposure to UV radiation not only increases your risk of skin cancer but also accelerates skin aging, causing everything from wrinkles to age spots. The medical term for this premature aging of the skin due to UV exposure is called “photoaging.” According to the Cleveland Clinic, these are just some of the signs of photoaging:
Loss of Elasticity and Skin Tone: This shows up as sagging skin, particularly in sun-exposed areas.
Thinning Skin: Over time, sun-damaged skin becomes thinner and more fragile.
Lip Damage: Sun exposure can lead to rough, scaly patches on your lips.
Wrinkles and Lines: You might notice more and deeper wrinkles around your eyes, mouth, and forehead.
Broken Capillaries: Sometimes called “spider veins,” these red, thread-like veins appear most commonly on the nose, cheeks, and neck.
Rough and Scaly Patches: These red patches, called actinic keratosis, can develop on your skin.
Changes in Pigmentation: This can include freckles, age spots, liver spots, uneven skin tone or texture, and even white spots on your arms, legs, and hands.
The key to combating these risks is effective UV protection, a mantra that Skin Cancer Awareness Month emphasizes across the globe. And, while many tout the benefits of wearing sunscreen to ward off skin cancer, it’s not the best option for protecting your epidermis in an eco-friendly way.
The Harmful Impact of Sunscreens on Skin and Marine Life
Chemical sunscreens, containing ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, and parabens, have come under scrutiny. These chemicals can disrupt human hormone systems, interfering with adrenal hormones and testosterone production, impeding thyroid function, and increasing the skin’s absorption of pesticides.
These ingredients are also detrimental to marine life and habitats. It’s estimated that 4,000-6,000 tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers into oceans each year. The result? 10% of coral reefs are under threat of bleaching, posing a toxic threat to the underwater ecosystem.
A Sustainable Alternative: SlipIns' UPF 50+ Products
Amid growing environmental concerns, SlipIns offers a compelling alternative with its range of UPF 50+ protective wear. From DiveSkins to Sea Legs to SOL Collection, our products are designed to shield your skin from 98% of UV rays without the need for chemical-laden creams. UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, measures the amount of UV radiation that can penetrate fabric and reach your skin. SlipIns' garments are crafted to provide maximum protection, allowing you to enjoy the sun safely and sustainably.
Why choose UPF protection over sunscreen? It's simple. UPF clothing is a one-time application—no reapplication necessary, no risk of missing spots, and no harmful chemicals washing off into our oceans. It’s a win-win for both your skin and the sea.
Practical Tips for Skin Protection
Protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays should be a daily ritual, not just a summertime concern. Here are a few tips to keep you safe:
Wear UPF 50+ clothing when spending extended periods outdoors.
Seek shade between 10 AM and 4 PM (daylight savings time), when UV rays are strongest.
Wear sunglasses and broad-brimmed hats to protect your eyes and face.
Regularly check your skin for new moles or changes to existing ones and consult with a dermatologist annually.
Join SlipIns' Sunscreen-Free Pledge
This Skin Cancer Awareness Month, let’s commit to protecting our skin and our seas. By choosing sustainable options like SlipIns' UPF 50+ protective wear, we take a significant step towards a healthier future for ourselves and our planet. We encourage you to make every month Skin Cancer Awareness Month — spread the word, protect your skin, protect the seas.
*NOTE: For more information on Skin Cancer Awareness Month and protective measures, visit the American Academy of Dermatology's page here.

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